Nationwide fights over-the-counter fraud with biometric signatures

Nationwide fights over-the-counter fraud with biometric signatures

Nationwide Building Society has announced plans to roll out biometric signature capture and verification technology to its 681 branches throughout the UK. Installation will begin during Q1 2003.

The Society says customers will be asked to sign an e-pad and the way in which they sign, including the position and pressure of stylus and time taken, will be recorded and stored for later verification purposes.

The system has been developed over the past two years to be compliant with UK legislation and to ensure signatures are legally binding. A built in diagnostics system and audit trail also enables Nationwide to prove an individual signature pad was working correctly at any given time.

The installation is phase two of a three-phase project. Phase one was to allow signatures already imaged to be viewed on screen by customer advisors and was completed in August 2001. Phase two is aimed at eliminating paper from the process by embedding signatures, including biometric data, into electronic documents. Phase three will involve the storage and automated verification of signatures.

Paul Feldman, Nationwide's banking services director, says: "This project will streamline member service, improve efficiency and move the Society towards a paperless environment. This pilot will further enhance the efficiency gains made in phase one as well as provide the basis for a fully automated signature capture and verification system."

Nationwide has signed contracts with two suppliers, MotionTouch and Florentis, to develop the technology which is based on e-signature software provided by the Communication Intelligence Corporation (CIC). Once implemented, the system will be the UK's largest installation of biometrics in a retail environment.

The plans were outlined in a presentation to the Biometrics 2002 conference at ExCel, London.

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